I'm a big fan of Hi-Power-pattern pistols. The original design was done by John M. Browning shortly before his death in 1926, but was re-worked by Dieudonne Saive at FN in to the form we know it today (except for the change to an external extractor and a firing-pin safety; those came later).
The Hi-Power is a very ergonomic, easy-to-shoot pistol. The double-stack 9mm (originally, .40S&W came later) grip is surprisingly slim, particularly if you throw on some slim aftermarket grips, and the pistol fits just about everyone's hand well. All of the controls are in the same place as a 1911 and most other Browning-designed pistols, so anyone with any sort of shooting experience can pick up a Hi-Power and not have too much trouble.
The Hi-Power's classic lines, easy-to-shoot nature and military history have kept it popular with shooters over the years. The Hi-Power was originally used by the French military starting in 1935 (hence the design sometimes being referred to as the P35) but has seen service with the British, Indian, Iraqi and many other militaries over the years.
I own two Hi-Power-pattern pistols. The first I obtained was an Arcus 94 and it was...Unrefined. The pistol discussed on this page is a short-slide Hi-Power called the M-95 Detective made by FM (Fabricaciones Militares of Argentina). The FM Hi-Powers (the short-slide M-95 "Detective" and the full-size M-95 "Classic) are licensed Hi-Powers, meaning these pistols should have 100% parts interchange with Browning/FN Hi-Powers. The internal parts finish is surprisingly good, but the odd lacquer-over-Parkerized finish on the exterior of the gun is a bit strange; the lacquer tends to flake off easily.
I had originally planned to obtain a used FN/Browning Hi-Power and swap on the Detective slide assembly, since I doubted the quality of the FM hardware. However, for $300 from Sarco I decided to take a chance on the complete pistol and have not been disappointed. I purchased a full-sized ("Classic") FM M-95 for my father at the same time I purchased mine.
First updates to the pistol included a two-lb. lighter than factory hammer springs, deleted mag disconnect and general internal polishing. These three changes helped reduce trigger weight and creep tremendously. After that, I swapped on some Navridex black micarta grips and had a Hi-Viz front sight installed. An EGW tool-steel sear was ordered, polished up and installed. The EGW sear's raised contact pad reduced the trigger pre-travel a noticable amount, cleaned up and lightened the trigger pull even more. The most recent upgrade has been a Cylinder & Slide "wide" combat trigger, which feels better to me than the original FM trigger.
As an aside, the FM trigger went in to the Arcus and allowed me to run a lighter trigger spring in the Arcus, which helped the Arcus be much more user-friendly. The FM's ambidextrous safety also went in to the Arcus and the Arcus' non-ambidextrous safety went in to the FM for no other reason than I liked the feel of the Arcus' safety better.
Recently the FM's slide has been hanging at its rearmost position instead of returning to battery after a round has been fired. This has been attributed to the original double recoil spring setup failing. After doing some research I ordered an eighteen-lb. recoil spring setup for an EAA Witness compact from Wolff. The smaller, inner spring wouldn't fit over the FM's guide rod, but the larger, outer spring fits fine. I haven't had a chance to hit up the range yet with the new spring, but hopefully the new recoil spring will fix the cycling problem.
Future plans include new rear sights, beveling the edges around the magwell opening and a re-finish, most likely a home re-finish with GunKote or something of the sort.
This picture of the FM is old. I'll take a new one one of these days.
Page created 20070326 14:44.
Page updated 20080315 21:50.
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